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Jon Rahm hits long birdies on last 2 holes, wins first major at US Open

Jon Rahm, US Open

Midway through the final round of the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines, the top of the leaderboard was filled with the biggest names in golf. Jon Rahm topped them all, sinking the two biggest putts of his career on the final two holes. He now has a first major championship as a result.

Rahm nailed lengthy birdie putts on the 71st and 72nd holes to claim the first major of his career, putting to rest the idea that he can’t play his best golf at the biggest tournaments in the world. He also became the first Spanish golfer to win the US Open. Other Spanish golfing greats who have won major titles — Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, and Sergio Garcia — did not win the United States Open. Jon Rahm stands alone.

Rahm started the day at two under par. He had to fight through a crowded leaderboard which included Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, and tournament runner-up Louis Oosthuizen. Jon Rahm fired a brilliant four-under 67 on Sunday in La Jolla, Calif., to finish the US Open at six-under 278. Oosthuizen finished second at five-under 279. He shot an even-par 71 in his final round.

With Jon Rahm winning this US Open tournament weeks after Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship in May, Arizona State University golfers have claimed back-to-back major titles.

The leaderboard was the stuff of dreams midway through the final round in Southern California. DeChambeau, gunning for back-to-back US Open titles, was at five under par. Six different golfers were part of a pack at four under, with multiple other golfers at three under. The tournament was anyone’s to win. Jon Rahm certainly flourished on the back nine, but his path was smoothed by the collapses of every golfer other than Oosthuizen.

DeChambeau imploded more than anyone else, scoring a snowman — an 8 — at the 17th hole and finishing with a six-over 77 for the round. He ended at three over 287 for the tournament.

McIlroy, Koepka, Morikawa — all the other previous major champions except Oosthuizen — faltered late and finished no closer than four shots behind Jon Rahm.

Oosthuizen, through 13 holes and playing three groups behind Rahm, led the Spaniard by one shot. Oosty was -5 and Rahm was at -4.

Then, Jon Rahm erased years of major-tournament frustration and banged in the two biggest birdie putts of his career to date. He started with this bendy 24-footer at 17:

Then came the putt which ultimately made the difference in his one-shot victory, an 18-footer at 18 with another late break which was perfectly measured:

Jon Rahm couldn’t have dreamed of a better result at the 2021 US Open. He also couldn’t have dreamed of hitting two better putts than the ones he made to change his career and make history for Spanish golf.